- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

President Trump isn’t doing any better than his predecessor in terms of outlining a plan for safeguarding the nation from cyberattack, Sen. John McCain said Wednesday.

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, took aim at the Trump administration’s cybersecurity standing while addressing the topic at a conference hosted by Arizona State University, The Hill first reported.

“Unfortunately, leadership from the executive branch on cybersecurity has been weak. As America’s enemies seized the initiative in cyberspace, the last administration offered no serious cyber deterrence policy and strategy,” Mr. McCain said, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by The Hill. “And while the current administration promised a cyber policy within 90 days of inauguration, we still have not seen a plan.”

Indeed, Mr. Trump promised in January to task a team of experts with drafting a cybersecurity plan to be released within three months of of taking office.

“Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office,” Mr. Trump said Jan. 6.

“My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!” he tweeted later.

The White House failed to issue any such plan before its April 20 deadline, but the president signed an executive order on strengthening cybersecurity the following month mandating a multi-agency review.

Mr. McCain nonetheless credited the Trump administration Wednesday with the president’s decision last week to elevate the U.S. Cyber Command, the Department of Defense body in charge of conducting offensive cyber operations on behalf of the military, The Hill reported.

“But despite the significant progress we have made at DOD, much remains to be done, especially in the coordination of a whole-of-government approach to defending the homeland from cyberattacks,” Mr. McCain said.

“My friends, I can assure you that our enemies are not the junior varsity. Until we reassess the cumbersome status quo, in place since the early years of the Obama administration, our own capabilities will be needlessly limited,” he added.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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